A lot of younger readers have questions about weight loss for teens, but in order to know how to lose weight as a teenager, there are some facts you have to know. I'm not going to say that no thirteen year old girl should be worrying about her weight because I know what it's like to be that girl. I may not think it's right but it happens. The problems occur when you get obsessed about your weight or get bad advice – and unfortunately, one thing often leads to the other. So I've put together some very important facts about weight loss for teens, and I hope they help you put things in perspective.
1. You Have to Eat
To fully understand weight loss for teens, you have to understand the rules of nutrition. The most important rule of nutrition is that you have to eat. You might think that skipping a meal or two throughout the day will make you lose weight, but the opposite is true. For one thing, your body needs the nutrients it gets from steady, healthy meals. For another, skipping meals does horrible things to your metabolism; it comes to a standstill at a time when you need it most.
2. You Don't Have to Eat Crap
That being said, you don't have to eat unhealthy food. While it's always tempting to go for fries or grab a slice of pizza from the cafeteria, don't do it often. Sometimes you have to, either because of necessity or desire, so just remember that moderation is the key. Whenever possible, however, bring your own food for breakfast or lunch. That way, you have control over what you're eating, and you won't ingest a bunch of empty carbs.
3. You're Still Growing
I see so many girls who are worried about being fat at 12, 13, 14, and so on. The thing is, they're not fat – and you, reading this, you're probably not either. While it's never too early to learn good habits, especially when it comes to nutrition and exercise, it's not uncommon to be a little heavy at a young age. You're still growing, and those growth spurts do matter. You have to realize that baby fat is a real thing, and while it won't last as an excuse later in life, it does play a part in the lives and bodies of younger teens.
4. Girls Distribute Fat Differently
As you grow, you also have to realize that girls' bodies distribute fat much differently. You might notice that your breasts, hips, and thighs are getting wider or more developed, but that does not mean they're getting fat. You might not grow into your body's changes right away, but you will. They might just start taking place before any noticeable growth spurts. Just keep an eye on things and remember that if you're regularly active and eat reasonably healthy, you're going to be just fine.
5. Puberty Affects Everything
Puberty is just a mess. So many facets of puberty wreak havoc with your weight. When you first start your period, for example, you may notice that your weight fluctuates. Your metabolism can go through some really drastic changes when you hit puberty as well, so your body needs some time to get used to its new rate. Again, regular exercise and a healthy, nutritious diet both help.
6. Think Genetics
Although sometimes overweight parents have very skinny children and very skinny parents have heavier kids, weight is sometimes genetic. Consider what your mother and father were like at your age. Remember, too, that if your mother didn't bloom until her mid or late teens, it's possible that the same will be true for you. I can't emphasize, however, that learning healthy habits – healthy, mind you, and reasonable – can really help you.
7. Obsession is Always Unhealthy
Now is not the time to obsessive over your weight. There are so many factors that come into play here. Obsession leads to unhealthy, even dangerous, habits. There are also many kinds of eating disorders, so emotionally eating is just as bad as starving or binging and purging. Don't go to extremes, they are not necessary. If you have a guilty pleasure, it's okay if you just use moderation. Get outside, stay active, exercise. Drink water, eat fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and healthy alternatives. Make substitutions when you can but don't beat yourself up over the occasional chocolate bar, cheeseburger, or bowl of mac and cheese.
8. Get Active
I've been stressing this all throughout this article, but this is important. You have to be active! If you play a sport, ride your bike, go roller blading, join the band, or simply take up jogging, you're doing well. Don't spend most of your free time sitting; you have to do that at school all day! You don't have to spend all your free time in the gym, just make sure you're active in some way every day.
9. Patience is a 4-Letter Word
Finally, don't expect miracles. Unrealistic expectations and impatience lead to obsessive behaviors. You won't lose 10 pounds overnight and you can't lose weight by not eating or trying fad diets. Just remember to eat healthy foods as often as possible and exercise in some way. That's honestly all you need!
Talking about weight loss for teens is pretty tricky, because these are hard years. Many teens want to fit in with their peers and they think that fitting in means being skinny because that is the message they receive. Remember, above all else, that being healthy is much, much more important, and it's better for you in the long run. Is there anything else you'd like to add or anything else you need to know?